Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Bastille Day!

On July 14th, 2005, my mom and I were on the adventure of a lifetime. We were on a European excursion and we'd spent 4 days in London and were now seeing Paris. On the 14th, Bastille day, eight years ago, we thought it best to walk our way from our hotel in the Latin quarter all the way to the Eiffel Tower to see the fireworks from the top of the tower. We spent the day wondering the cobblestone streets, taking the BatoBus from one riverbank to the next along the Seine. We stopped and visited the Musee D'Orsay and had lunch in the park where, I'm pretty sure, we joined the locals and splashed our feet in the fountains (so awesome, this should be done in LA too). 

When we finally made it to the Eiffel Tower, much to our dismay it was closed. We didn't realize it before, but the fireworks shoot off of the Eiffel tower.... so naturally, you can't be up there as you might risk losing a limb and whatnot. 

But we were told you could see fireworks from anywhere along the river. Being that it was still light out, we stopped at a cafe for dinner. I ordered a hamburger (I know, not very adventurous). Naturally, being a French hamburger and all, it had an egg on it, and came with no bread (right?!). When I asked for bread the man sort of rolled his eyes at my American-ness and brought me a basket of mini baguettes. Because that's how you eat a burger.

Never-the-less we continued our journey back along the Seine. As it grew darker, more people emerged on the streets. It was a warm summer night, perfect. Vendors popped up everywhere and the whole street was  buzzing. As we walked we stopped for something sweet, a simple vendor cart, but without the churros and the sodas and ice cream like at home, this small wooden cart was filled with Haribo gummy candy. So amazing. We filled our bag with gummy coke bottles, and red and black raspberries, and then, these amazing giant yellow gummy - BANANAS. Have you had these? They sell them at some candy stores, but they're not too common. They are pretty amazing. But how cool to have a candy cart on the streets of Paris?!

Soon the sun set and the people were all out on the streets. It's pretty amazing to me to think back on it. In LA, there are hundreds of locations that set off fireworks on the 4th of July. It's a huge hilly city, and you really have to be in the right spot to see them (unless you live at our house, apparently, but that's a whole other story...). But in Paris, it's the Eiffel Tower. That's it. That's the only place that does a show. And everyone comes to see it. The streets are full of people, young and old, families and groups of teenagers with wine in a paper bag. Everyone is there to see the same thing.  

From what seemed out of nowhere, a voice came on. A city wide loud speaker, announcing in French that the show would start. And then... the most amazing firework show ever. Everyone talks about the Eiffel Tower at night, how it glows and sparkles, you haven't seen it glow until you've seen it on Bastille Day. It's breath taking. 

Eight years ago today we were walking the streets of Paris, watching the city glow. I will NEVER forget that.